We have a single family home with 200 amp service. One main breaker inside the house.

We needed a 220v 40amp power supply outside. Instead of running a circuit from our main breaker, he connected a Main lug only panel w/ 6 breaker spaces to the the source power within the meter can. He pulled the meter to do this, and it IS connected on the correct side of the meter. Can the main lugs in the meter can be double tapped like this and still be within code?

Additional information: there is no main disconnect for the main panel (or the new MLO panel) outside at the meter. There is no shutoff breaker at the MLO panel, but I believe that is standard.

No permit was pulled but part of the terms were that all work would be done within NEC & local code.

  • What's protecting the wire? Nothing, right? Bad news. A feeder like that requires a breaker at the downstream end, at least, and whether that's legal depends on the wire route. Please revise to add more detail on that subject.
    – isherwood
    Aug 12, 2019 at 19:15
  • How did "he" connect to the lugs in the meter can without shutting off the power?
    – longneck
    Aug 12, 2019 at 19:58
  • Was he a licensed electrician? Did he pull a permit? What did the inspector say? Aug 12, 2019 at 21:11
  • Did you have an understanding with him that the additional power use would not cost you any money / be billed by the power company? Aug 12, 2019 at 21:50
  • 1
    Can you give us the model of the meter base. My home has a meter with 2 lugs and I have a similar setup but only 3 breakers.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 13, 2019 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


Can the main lugs in the meter can be double tapped like this and still be within code?

The short answer is NO. NEC 110.14 States: Terminals for more than one conductor ... Shall be so identified. I have never found a 200A residential 120/240V meter base that had an identified multi-tap fitting, and the utility companies I have worked with forbid it.

That being said, it is allowed to have a maximum of 6 service disconnects at the meter. So it is not unusual to put a small panel beside an existing Main and add an extra breaker and leave space for additions. All that is wrong is that there must be something like a junction box added and tap the conductors there instead of at the lug.

If you electrician balks about it you can always get the AHJ or the utility company involved and see what they have to say. At least I would contact the owner (not the electrician in the field) of the contracting company and see if they want to get them involved as a tie breaker.

Hope this helps.

  • Milbank makes tap lug kits (K4977-INT, K4977-EXT, K5022-INT) available for their 200A meter bases... Aug 13, 2019 at 22:45
  • @ThreePhaseEel Yes but does he have that meter base? Aug 15, 2019 at 1:05

NO, YOU CANNOT. In plain words... A home can only have ONE switch to disconnect ALL power. Now you have a bunch of switches which would all have to be switched off in order to disconnect all power. This is a serious code violation. The fireman, which is an ordinary person, needs to be able to easily disconnect ALL power with the throw of ONE switch labeled MAIN.

Further note slightly off subject for eduation: Commercial applications may have up to six switches to disconnect ALL power AND they must be clearly labeled in ONE location on the SAME SIDE of ONE wall and no connecting wire can be longer than six feet, which will force all the switches to be very closely packed. What you describe is not legal even in a commercial situation.

  • This answer is substantially incorrect on the facts. “Rule of six” panels (no “main” disconnect, up to six smaller disconnects for branch circuits or sub-panels allowed) were perfectly legal for residences from roughly 1933 until the NEC 2020 (still not adopted everywhere). Likewise, none of the disconnects were required to be outdoors.
    – nobody
    Sep 6, 2021 at 18:03
  • I said nothing about inside xor outside. I am not breaking out an older code book. The "Rule of six" only applies only to commercial, and that has been true for a long time. Who has normal breakers in their residential home and multiple mains? Nobody -- that's who. The question was asked because he has never seen it. Do you have multiple mains in your residence? Your neighbor, friend, cousin? As an electrician, I have expierenced to many inspections, had to many inspector conversations, and read to many ECM magazines to consider my answer incorrect. One of us lives in an non-NEC area.
    – Paul
    Sep 6, 2021 at 18:45
  • I do in fact have two mains in my house. 400A/CL320 service from one outdoor meter to two side-by-side 200A QO panels in the basement. No outside shutoff. Every house in the development has the same setup (all built shortly before NEC2020).
    – nobody
    Jun 28, 2023 at 2:38

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